BioFutures: Hacking the Human Genome

With Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg in Conversation with Legal Scholar Elizabeth Joh

Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 8:00 p.m.

Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum

Free for Donors and and After Dark members.

Adults Only (18+)

Note: Ticket includes admission to After Dark (6–10 p.m.). Seating for BioFutures is limited and first come, first served.

Having your DNA analyzed is now as easy as spitting into a tube, and companies compete to offer genetic revelations about your ancestry and risk of disease. Are there downsides to allowing such easy access to our genetic information? Can our DNA also be translated into new to ways to connect? Transmedia artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s work probes what we can and can’t learn from our DNA, and she balances an optimistic perspective on biotechnology with an honest exploration of its ethical implications. 

Heather Dewey-Hagborg is a transdisciplinary artist and educator interested in art as research and critical practice. Her work Probably Chelsea—in the Exploratorium’s Cells to Self collection—presents twenty diverse sculptural portraits based on one person’s DNA information. 

Elizabeth Joh is Professor of Law at UC Davis and an expert on DNA collection in policing.


BioFutures is a six-part series of conversations with leading experts in the field exploring how emerging bioscience technologies are changing our world.

As genetics and biotechnology continually evolve, surprising scenarios are emerging. The DNA editing technology CRISPR, for example, may enable us to fix disease-causing genes in the human body, and it’s brought us the first genetically engineered babies. A sample of our DNA can tell us about our ancestral past, but might also reveal things that we’d rather keep private? How can we make the most of exciting advances, while also defining our ethical boundaries? Join biologists and other experts in conversations about what genetics and other technologies reveals about our past, our selves, and our shared future.